The Denver Bar Association, like the Colorado Bar Association, is a voluntary bar, which means that you can decide whether or not to join. Many lawyers, particularly from my generation, did not think twice when it came to joining the bar—it was simply “the thing” to do. Based on the advice of our mentors, there was no alternative. After all, wasn’t everyone a member?
Both the answer to that question and the times have changed, however.
Our newest generation of members—particularly young lawyers—no longer automatically sign up following their initial free membership year. So, the relevant question for bar leadership is, of course, “Why not?”
From the prospective members’ view point, the question is: “Why does the bar deserve my membership?” Let me try to answer both questions.
A law career typically spans many years. I am well into my thirty-fifth year of practice. Although technology has advanced the communication process, I strongly believe that the personal and professional satisfaction I have enjoyed as a lawyer is founded, not on technology, but on the personal relations I have made and enjoyed throughout my years in the profession. My success as a lawyer has been, without question, aided by those personal relationships.
The Denver Bar Association has approximately 9,000 members, the majority of whom practice law. As a result, where else can you meet and come to know—say, even 3,000 lawyers—over a career? Only the bar association affords that opportunity. Not Facebook, not any other social media, not even your law school alumni group can match the opportunity to meet and truly get to know your fellow lawyers in this community.
Further, where else can you meet, at the local level, hundreds of lawyers who practice in your area of expertise—be it litigation, real estate or oil and gas. Again, only through the bar asociation can you reasonably accomplish that career goal, all with the help of highly qualified, professional mentors. Not surprisingly, only the bar offers numerous opportunities to meet mentors and to place you squarely in the middle of hundreds of lawyers who do what you do. No other organization comes close.
Finally, where else can you find leadership opportunities dedicated to the betterment of your career and of this profession? Bar leadership may seem distant to you if you have never served, but the most important criterion to serve the bar is an expression of interest. We don’t ask where you went to law school, we don’t inquire of your GPA, we only want your dedication to improving the bar programs and bettering this profession. Again, only the bar can offer that opportunity.
The Denver Bar Association’s special mission for 2014–15 is to grow the Young Lawyers’ Division by 15%. Come help us. Join the DBA in that mission. It will make you a better lawyer, it will advance this profession and it will make a huge difference in someone’s life. I cannot imagine three more important reasons we deserve your membership.
By John M. Vaught
President, Denver Bar Association